A RYEDALE library has reopened as a community hub.

The facility in Norton, which was threatened with closure following financial cuts by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC), has been renamed Norton Hive - Library and Community Hub.

It will now be run entirely by volunteers with extended hours and additional facilities.

Mike Gwilliam, vice-chairman of the trustees, said the possibility of Norton Library closing was first put forward six years ago when it was suggested it was merged with Malton.

“There was a big public reaction at the time with people very concerned that Norton would lose its library,” he said.

“However, thanks to the efforts of our County Councillor Elizabeth Shields, who pushed for Norton to be considered as a community library, we are fortunate to be in the position we are now. We certainly could not have done it without her.”

The library will now by run by a management team as a registered charity.

Mr Gwilliam said: “The key thing is to improve what we have. We have three phases, the first of which is the new disabled toilet, kitchen and redecoration, which have now been carried out.

“The next phase will involve converting the old garage into two new offices, which can be rented out to provide a regular income. The final phase will be improving the land around the library with a community garden.”

The new library opening hours are Tuesday, from 9am to noon and 3pm to 7pm, Thursday and Friday, 9am to noon and 3pm to 6pm, and Saturday, 9am to 1pm.

Mr Gwilliam said: “We will have no paid support but we have a very good group of volunteers who have all received training, although we could always do with more.

“We have also had a lot of support with funding and donations, including the Lions, Norton Town Council Ryedale District Council and NYCC, as well as local businesses.

“It has been a good community project and we now hope people will use it and support their local library.”